You will not find it on the Greene County map, and if you don’t look closely, you might drive past Middleton Corner. It is not a village or even a hamlet, but this community has been in existence with this name for well over a century.
Middleton Corner is located near the intersection of US Route 68 and Spring Valley-Paintersville Road in Caesarscreek Township. The area boasts no school, church or post office and the railroad never came through to provide transportation of goods or services.
Some years after Middleton Corner was established, the Caesarscreek School opened not far away, providing the children of the area with a good education.
In any event, the highway department felt it was important enough to post the name of the hamlet along the side of the road. The first sign “Middleton Corner” is about two tenths of a mile from the sign on the other side of the community. Residents are pleased to have the signs in place.
The 1855 Greene County atlas does not list “Middleton Corner” as a village, but there were several Middleton families living in the area, hence the name of the community.
It all began about 1825. Ohio was a state, and the land was being sold at reasonable prices in order to encourage settlers to move here from Kentucky and Virginia. The farm land was very rich, as it is today, and an ideal place for a family wanting to get a new start.
Brothers John and Thomas Middleton, natives of Virginia, were among those who heard about the excellent farm land for minimal prices.
The brothers came by horseback to look for suitable acreage and purchased considerable property. They returned to their native Virginia where each of them got married. They persuaded their parents and other members of the family to come to the new state to make their homes as well.
Their parents, Bethuel and Naomi Middleton were anxious to begin a new life and in a short time, the entire family arrived in Greene County with a six-horse team pulling a wagon with their earthly goods.
The land was heavily timbered, so one of the first activities was to cut down some of the trees to construct their homes. It was not long before they had several log homes for their families. Soon they began to clear the land in order to plant crops in the fertile ground.
Before coming to Ohio, Thomas had been engaged in the business of hauling by wagon train. He later became a cattle buyer and pork-packer. He bought and processed the pork in the area, then transported it to Cincinnati for sale. Several years later his son, Lewis became a breeder of fine horses.
John married Angeline Musetter of Virginia and in time members of the Musetter family also moved to Greene County.
John and his wife were the parents of ten children, all born at Middleton’s Corner. Farming was the major industry in the community, which continued to grow as the Middleton children remained in the area, constructing their own homes, and farming the land.
Dill’s History of 1881 lists John’s son, Christopher as having a very fine farm worth about one hundred dollars per acre.
For a few years, a general store, located on US Route 68 was the only business in the village. It was easily accessible to those living in the village as well as those who lived a short distance away. Originally the store was owned by a man named Marshall. The next owner was Mr. Kirkpatrick. It proved to be a busy store, and so two of the Middletown boys were hired to work there.
John and Robert Middleton worked for Mr. Kirkpatrick for several years until he decided it was time to retire from the retail business and put the store up for sale. The brothers, having worked for him for some years, decided to purchase the store in 1958.
The little store provided groceries of all kinds, fresh meat and especially fresh produce, some grown on the Middleton farms. Additionally, one could purchase gasoline, kerosene and other necessities. A specially of the store was a hand dipped ice cream cone which for many years was sold for five cents a dip.
After several years in the business, John and Robert decided to retire and sold the building in 1973. For a few years, the new owner of the store sold toys and other household items but that business had also closed.
The building still stands, but no longer can you get a hand-dipped ice cream cone for a nickel.
Today, only a few residents share the Middleton name. The last of the descendants of the original Middleton brothers who continued to live in the community was John Middleton who lived there the majority of his life. Now John has gone on to be with his ancestors.
Around election time, John would joke that he put his name on the ballot to be Mayor of Middleton Corner, but when the votes were counted, there was only one vote (his own). However, he happily would answer to the title of “Mayor of Middleton Corner.”
Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.